ECONOMY

Revenues miss target, spending decline makes up for it

Official figures released this week showed the budget missed its revenues goal again in September, although the lag was offset by containment of expenditure that resulted in the budget deficit figure coming out better than the original target.

Data published by the state?s General Accounting Office on Tuesday showed that net state budget revenues amounted to 36.7 billion euros in the first nine months of the year, missing the target by 1.34 billion euros. Revenues from value-added tax were close to the target set for the first three quarters of the year, but were also 11.5 percent less than the same period last year.

There was a significant drop in revenues from corporate income tax, while property taxes fetched a whopping 451 percent more than in the first three quarters of 2011.

Finance Ministry sources say the revenues target was missed owing to the early submission of administrative reports from the country?s customs offices for September, as well as to the extension of deadlines for various tax obligations from September 30 to October 3 due to industrial action by tax authority employees in late September.

Part of the resulting shortfall was covered by 201 million euros the country received from France and Finland from the transfer of bond returns. Road and property taxes also eased the revenue lag.

The budget deficit for the first nine months of 2012 amounted to 12.7 billion euros, against a target of 13.5 billion, while the primary deficit came to 2.07 billion euros. That was thanks to the drastic cut in expenditure, particularly in the Public Investment Program, as in previous months.

Budget spending in the year to September 30 amounted to 49.42 billion euros, or 2.15 billion euros less than the target set by the 2013 draft budget. Regular budget expenditure dropped due to a drop in defense spending and in expenditure for covering the guarantees of state corporations. As a result, budget spending has gone down 7.5 billion euros or 13.2 percent compared to the first nine months of 2011, with primary expenditure showing an 8.9 percent annual reduction.

Public Investment Program spending was reduced by a considerable 2 billion euros in the year to September compared with the original target.